Monday, July 11, 2016

Butterfly Garden Notes, July 8, 9, 10

On Friday I did a milkweed check and found 3 new monarch caterpillars on the front porch and 3 on the patio.  As of this morning, I only saw 1 on the patio.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t there.  Sometimes they’re hard to find.  But it’s also likely that something ate them, as that seems to be the case most of the time when they go missing.  Yesterday I found a nice size praying mantis on the patio milkweed.  He could be the culprit of some of the missing cats.  We’ll see what happens as time goes on.  If there are more caterpillars, they’ll be easier to spot as they grow in size.

Sunday morning the Swallowtail chrysalis had darkened.  I was very happy since I knew I’d be around the house most of the day.  I went out for a bit early in the morning and was back by about 10:30 am.  I believe it was somewhere between 11 and 12 noon when it emerged.  I took some photos shortly after.  I’m pretty sure this one is a female.  I read that the males have claspers on their rear end.  This one did not.  For about an hour or two she hung onto the fennel where her chrysalis was then eventually, she climbed up higher onto the plant and she flew away.

I’d actually forgotten to check on the swallowtail chrysalis that was on the other side of the garden wall until Sunday morning.   Sure enough when I did, it was empty.  I’m pretty sure that one emerged sometime on Saturday and I missed it.  I was glad I was able to see at least one of them.

This week I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that more monarch caterpillars appear and that another female will come by to lay fresh eggs.

Freshly emerged female Anise Swallowtail testing out her wings.
This was taken just a moment before she took her first flight.

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